Grand Valley 3rd phase approved: concerns about Luther Marsh

The Luther Marsh is an Important Bird Area, 10 km from Grand Valley Phase 3. But...wind is green, wind is good.
The Luther Marsh is an Important Bird Area, 10 km from Grand Valley Phase 3. But…wind is green, wind is good.

Orangeville Banner, October 15, 2014

More wind turbines are going to be built in Grand Valley and Amaranth.

The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has approved the third phase of the Grand Valley Wind Farms project, which will see a 40 MW wind farm operating in the area when construction is complete.

According to the Renewable Energy Approval (REA), Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc. has been gained permission to construct and operate up to 16 wind turbines and a 45 MVA (million volt-ampere) transformer in Grand Valley and Amaranth.

Veresen Inc., the developing partner of the Grand Valley Wind Farms, has been given a period of three years to connect the entire 40 MW facility to the grid.

Grand Valley Wind Farms Inc. applied for REA approval earlier this year and received it on Wednesday (Oct. 15).

Any residents of Ontario wishing to appeal the decision to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) must submit written notice within 15 days of the REA approval.

“After a comprehensive review and consultation, the ministry has approved Grand Valley Wind Farms Phase 3 wind project in Dufferin County,” MOE spokesperson Kate Jordan said in an email. “Many of the conditions, including the requirement for a traffic management plan, noise requirements and the requirement to create an emergency response and communications plan address comments we heard from the public and Town of Grand Valley.”

Those opposing the proposal cited concerns relating to noise, health, water, safety, loss of property values and farmland, among many other issues. Some of those commenting in opposition cited the project’s proximity to the Luther Marsh Wildlife Area as a concern.

The Luther Marsh, which is considered a provincially significant wetland, is home to more than 250 bird species, several of which are considered endangered, threatened or at risk.

Some of those bird species of concern listed by those opposing the plan include bald eagles, white egrets, peregrine falcon, red-shouldered hawk and bobolink, among many others.

Officials with the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) had the developer to complete an Environment Effects Monitoring Plan (EEMP) for bird and bat monitoring. The REA approval requires Grand Valley Wind Farms to implement the mitigation and monitoring methods as outlined in that plan.

“The project is not located in the marshland but the Ministry of Natural Resources did review and confirm the natural heritage assessment work completed by the developer,” Jordan added.

To view the REA decision, click here.

Read the full story here.

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